March Madness: Minnesota prevails over Milwaukee

Two teams, each with 19 wins, fought off rust in search of an elusive 20th victory in a late March survive and advance match up.

Allina Starr led tthe Gophers with 10 rebounds
Allina Starr led tthe Gophers with 10 rebounds

Minnesota did Wednesday night at Williams Arena, defeating Milwaukee 87-80.

“I think not playing for so long and [we] haven’t been in a game mode” since a 84-74 loss to Northwestern March 3 in Indianapolis, admitted Gopher sophomore guard Allina Starr to the MSR afterwards.

The game was lethargic rather than a Goliath vs. David cakewalk.

“No one at this time of year will be an easy opponent,” noted UM Coach Marlene Stollings of the visiting Panthers, who finished 19-13. “I thought Milwaukee battled hard and played well.”

It took all 48 points scored by UM guard Rachel Banham, including 35 in the second half. Her scoring output was a WNIT record.

“I’m a competitor. I don’t want to lose, no matter what tournament we are in,” stated the 5-9 scoring machine.

Minnesota improved to 20-11. They will play South Dakota Sunday, 2 pm Central time in a WNIT second round game.

“We’re excited to be hosting again,” concluded Stollings.

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.